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Corindi Stormwater Wetland (Coffs Harbour)

Wetlands attract birds such as Brologas

Wetlands attract birds such as Brologas


A private development company needed a stormwater wetland solution for a residential subdivision. The purpose of the stormwater wetland was to treat runoff pollutants and provide protection for a sensitive SEPP 14 natural wetland located immediately downstream from the development.  

The main challenges included:

  • Variable flows and water quality
  • Lots of fine clays in the soils
  • Protection of sensitive ecosystem
  • Community concerns about mosquitoes, safety for children, flora and fauna


Keith Bolton and David Pont were engaged to design a stormwater treatment wetland and to manage community consultation. The system was designed with a number of treatment functions to address both particulate and dissolved pollutants, through the use of inlet zones, gravel beds with melaleuca trees, and incorporating open water zones.

 The use of gravel beds and dense plantings in macrophyte zones formed the core of the system, as this combination has provided excellent performance.


The wetlands have now been in operation since about 2005 and continue in excellent condition. The constructed wetlands host several attractive plant species mainly in the shallow water (public safety advantage) as well as supporting a prime habitat for birds and frogs. Brolgas have been regular visitors.

The wetland treatment system continues to produce clear water, and has become an integrated part of the local community, being frequently used as a recreational asset by walkers. A key result has been the large numbers of frogs in the wetlands, and the way in which the wetlands have grown as part of the beautiful natural environment of the site.



Byron Bay Effluent Reuse Wetland Project


Byron wetland

Byron Bay Effluent Reuse Project

Every time a toilet is flushed now in Byron Bay, the processing of its contents is ecologically sound. This positive result is the outcome of a collaboration between ecoteam ecotechnologist Dr Keith Bolton, NSW DPI Agriculture, Environment Australia, Southern Cross University and Byron Shire Council. Dr Bolton was the Scientific Coordinator and Project Manager of the 24 ha Byron Bay Effluent Reuse Wetland project, in which 750,000 paperbark trees were hand-planted to reuse and ‘polish’ Byron Bay’s sewage effluent through its final or ‘secondary treatment’ stage. As the effluent passes through the wetland, the trees pump water into the atmosphere, reducing the hydraulic load on Byron’s formerly pristine and now heavily-stressed waterways. Effluent that does make its way into the surrounding area is polished and primed, making it much safer for environmental discharge. Dr Bolton and his colleagues also demonstrated that effluent can be used to manage acid sulfate soil and to regenerate a degraded wetland. The Byron Effluent Reuse Wetland has become an important habitat for a diverse range of local wildlife, and is rapidly becoming a major tourist attraction.